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By Bill Gallagher

DETROIT -- They kill, torture, lie and steal. For six years, they have largely escaped accountability for their crimes. Now they find themselves in the last throes of unchallenged power and the Busheviks are acting in pure desperation.

Losing just one house of Congress --with Democrats then possessing broad subpoena authority -- will expose even more of the dirty deeds of this, the most pervasively corrupt, dishonest and incompetent presidency in our history.

What we know already is frightening. What we will learn will be worse. The task of even evaluating the extent of the damage is daunting. Beginning to deal with the mess President George W. Bush has wrought will be difficult and, in some cases, may be well beyond repair. Iraq, global warming and the nation's fiscal health come quickly to mind.

Watching the Busheviks in scattered retreat and braced in the politics of panic is an ugly sight. Lies and a total disconnect from reality sustain their campaign. Fear, smears and gutter tactics are all they now use.

Vice President Dick Cheney left the bat cave and actually talked to people other than his official conduits and cheerleaders, Rush Limbaugh and Brit Hume. But on unfamiliar terrain, D.C. Dick slipped and told the truth to Scott Hennen, a conservative talk-show host.

Hennen brought up the topic of waterboarding, a torture technique in which the prisoner being interrogated is subjected to a flooding sense of drowning.

"Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?" Hennen asked Cheney.

"It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney snapped back, "but for a while there, I was criticized as being the vice president for torture. We don't torture."

Waterboarding is torture. In 1947, the United States charged a Japanese officer with war crimes for using waterboarding on American POWs. Bush quickly denied doing what Cheney advocated.

"This country doesn't torture. We're not going to torture," Bush insisted.

Republican fund-raiser and occasional White House flack Tony Snow was quick to deny Cheney said what he said. For Snow and his ilk, defending the indefensible and denying the undeniable are so routine they don't even flinch when they do it and don't care how laughable they are.

"The vice president says he was talking in general terms about a questioning program that is legal to save lives," Snow told reporters. And then, with a straight face, Snow added, "He was not referring to waterboarding."

What the hell was he talking about, then? Cheney responded to a question about a "dunk in water," but we are supposed to believe he wasn't talking about waterboarding. Snow's crap would have been more plausible if he had suggested Cheney was actually referring to bobbing for apples on Halloween.

The Bushevik desperation is apparent in the changing of the slogans. "Stay the course" gets the boot, and "adapt to win" is now in. For people who are all slogans and no substance, this marks a major shift when they cut and run on "stay the course."

Bush had to be reprogrammed to stop his brain-numbing repetition of the phrase, and at a news conference, he tried to show how open-minded and flexible his approach has been in the doomed and disastrous war.

"I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq. I'm not satisfied, either," he said. While October was a horrible month for Iraqi civilians and U.S. troops, and the bloodshed continues to escalate, Bush remains blind to the awful truth and ignores the grim reality.

"Absolutely, we're winning," Bush insisted. Winning what? U.S. forces are caught in the middle of sectarian violence, and their presence there draws and incites terrorists. Crime is out of control, especially in Baghdad.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the architect of the fiasco in Iraq and the most demonstrably incompetent man on earth, continues to have Bush's unflinching support. As long as Rumsfeld keeps calling the shots at the Pentagon, we are staying the course, and the tragedy in Iraq, the deaths and the suffering will continue.

Bush pretends that he's flexible, but he will never bend to the reality all sensible people recognize -- invading Iraq was a monstrous mistake and a monumental foreign policy failure. Bush's war makes our nation less secure and breeds international terrorism.

No strategic errors, Bush claims. All we need is some tactical tweaking, and let's get those Iraqis off their asses and insist they "take bold measures to save their country." Bush is now blaming the political leaders we put in place in the nation we chose to invade and telling them they'd better clean up the mess our aggression created, because "America's patience is not unlimited."

Let's hope American voters will show impatience with the Republican supporters of the war, especially those who impugn the patriotism of the great majority of Americans who believe Bush lied about the reasons for the war and invading Iraq was a mistake.

Now our "war-time president" wants us to know he can bob and weave. "That's why we're taking new steps to help secure Baghdad and constantly adjusting our tactics across the country to meet the changing threat," Bush said during his rambling explanation about the course of the war.

"Adjusting the tactics" will now be the slogan through the November elections. All those times you heard Bush say "stay the course" are now inoperative. Snow says the phrase is being purged from the Bushevik book of slogans and talking points because "it left the wrong impression about what was going on."

But if you happen to be one of the 250 million or so people who thought "stay the course" was the policy in Iraq, you are wrong and it's all your fault. You just don't appreciate "the dynamism of the efforts that have been ongoing to make Iraq more secure," as Snow says. Shame on you, if you are preoccupied with the growing number of casualties and widespread chaos there.

Members of the reality-based community had to chuckle and shake their heads in disbelief at the exchange Snow had with a reporter on the slogan shuffle. It was quintessential Bushevism, totally removed from truth and reality.

Question: Is the president responsible for the fact people think it's "stay the course," since he's, in fact, described it that way himself?

Snow: No.

The prosecution rests.

Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is gallaghernewsman@sbcglobal.net.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com October 31 2006